Due to declining enrollment, parents now have to find a new school for their children after a Raytown Catholic school closes its doors.
The Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph announced Tuesday that Our Lady of Lourdes School would not open its doors to students next week. The school had been open for 59 years.
One mother said the notice caused anguish in her home. She and other parents are scrambling to find alternative schools.
As of Aug. 8, only 57 students were pre-registered for this school year at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Raytown. The school had 119 students last year. Ten years ago, 199 students attended the school, which is down from the enrollment of 600 students when it opened nearly six decades ago.
"This decision was made mindful of the dedication and selfless service of our school faculty and staff. I am asking other Catholic school administrators to give first priority for staffing any available positions to the teachers and staff of Our Lady of Lourdes School," said the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in a news release.
KCTV5's Eric Chaloux interviewed Superintendent Dan Peters, who said the closing decision was a difficult one.
"It's very hard anytime you close a school," he said. "It's tough. People are obviously emotionally invested. It's never a good situation."
The diocese also said that area Catholic schools are assisting families find new schools.
"Our normal practice could never been to close a school so close to the start of the year," he said. "We'd like to make decisions in advance like in spring so parents can adjust and employees can find other opportunities."
Most of the teachers had been let go over the summer. Just four teachers remained and their fate was not clear Wednesday night.
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